Steve Ballmer makes surprise appearance at Nokia press conference

The announcement of Microsoft's planned acquisition of Nokia's device and services businesses on Monday evening was followed this morning by a press conference hosted by Nokia in its home country of Finland. The event included a surprise appearance by current Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who spoke briefly in the middle of the press conference but did not take questions from reporters.

Ballmer said that the move to buy Nokia's smartphone division was a "signature event" in Microsoft's plans to turn itself into a devices and services company in its own right. He added that the deal will also benefit Finland as Microsoft plans to build a new datacenter in that country that will serve all of Europe.

Most of the press conference was conducted by Risto Siilasmaa, the current chairman of Nokia's board who is now serving as its interim CEO. Siilasmaa said that serious talks with Microsoft about a possible acquisition began in February 2013. He added that while he and Nokia's board felt the $7.17 billion deal with Microsoft was the rational thing to do, it was still a hard emotional decision as well. Siilasmaa said that Nokia is currently searching for a new CEO and will consider both internal and external candidates.

Stephen Elop, who resigned today as CEO of Nokia and who will lead Microsoft's Devices division when the Nokia deal closes, also addressed the press conference. Elop said he was proud of what he accomplished while he led the company and that the people of Finland should continue to be proud of what the company will offer in the future.

Microsoft is scheduled to hold its own press conference later today at 8:45 a.m. Eastern time.

Source: Nokia | Image via Nokia

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